By Alan Kopischke
August 1, 2007
Did you ever carve your name in a tree or a desk? Ever leave a little stone marking somewhere you stopped on a hike or camped? Or found some other way to say “I was here,” or “This is the place,” with your mark? Why do we do it? It seems it’s both a marker to come back to and a signpost for others that you cared enough to connect yourself to the place in a lasting way. A sense of history and community surrounds Peninsula Players. This summer, I’ve heard numerous stories about patrons’ and community members’ earliest experiences at the Players and their earliest brushes with founder Caroline Fisher or with more recent notable Players. I count myself among those who like to come early and stroll through the garden, around the grounds and into the theater to not only enjoy the beauty but to commune with memories. If you’ve taken the tour, you have seen the dressing room walls, preserved from the old backstage and installed in the new space, that carry the signatures, messages and artwork of company members going back many years and the posters from seasons going back to the 1950s. For those whose hearts are permanently linked to the Players through memories of excitement, romance, laughter and beauty, the urge to leave a mark to come back to is strong. For those same reasons, many of our patrons choose to leave their mark as well. I’ve enjoyed strolling through the rows of comfortable new seats in the theatre and examining the ways in which others have commemorated their experiences here by naming seats in our new audience pavilion. One seat plaque honors an ancestor who served as hostess at the former Bonnie Brook Cottage/Motel in 1935, when the Players first mounted a production on the grassy knoll behind the cottage. Audiences will forever know that, in 1935, Hedwig Enger Welcker was here. Another commemorates five generations of a family “play’n in DC.” How many more generations will come see that seat in years to come? Some have named their own season ticket seats, while others have chosen a seat in the row letter with which their first or last names begin. Still others reflect the name of a local business. Our Technical Director and his wife (our Business Manager) have named a seat in the back corner the T.D. Chair, because he sits there during technical rehearsals. Every seat has a story, and several of them are waiting to tell their tale. The new theatre holds 621 seats, and more than a quarter of them have already been named. As we continue to raise the final $2 million of our capital campaign, many community members and regular visitors find naming a seat to be an appealing way to put their mark on the new theater and honor loved ones who wanted to leave theirs, or to demonstrate that when the new theatre was built, “I was here.” “Little Shop of Horrors,” will be leaving its mark through Aug. 19th. For tickets, go to www.peninsulaplayers.com or call 868-3287. If you’d like to tour the new theater, talk about naming a seat, or have any other questions about Peninsula Players, please contact me, Alan Kopischke, at 868-3287 or [email protected].